Saturday, April 16, 2011

Thank You! And Repost: Easter Egg Caterpillars


 This post appeared exactly one year ago on the Child Central Station website and blog (before I moved the blog here...) Karen Nemeth has been a great contact and inspiration for me. As the president of the UPECC last year, I was in quite a predicament. Our keynote speaker called me to cancel days away from our annual conference. Fortunately, Karen was ready to jump in with both feet and take on the challenge of filling in.  Let me tell you, trying to work out the details and putting trust in someone so last minute was no easy task, but as they say... things happen for a reason!
     Karen and I spent a couple of hours at the airport as we were waiting for her departing flight after the conference. I know I could have just dropped her off, but I didn't want her to have to wait in the airport for that long, so I stayed and we chatted up a storm. In addition to these wonderful caterpillars, Karen told me about Teach Preschool on Facebook. Up until that point, I had never really thought about online networking with other ECE professionals. The journey since then has been amazing! I was inspired to start this blog, I not only have a great way to communicate with the parents of the children in my care, but I have been friends from all over the world.... and not a day goes by where I am not inspired by someone else out there in the www.  
    It is hard to believe a year has gone by, Thank you Karen for taking the plunge and for sharing so much with me.   (By the time this post publishes, I will be at the UPECC again. This year, cross your fingers.... both keynote speakers are still coming, but I cannot wait to see what the new experiences bring!) 

After the 2010 Upper Peninsula Early Childhood Conference, I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Karen Nemeth as we drove to the airport and waited for her departing flight. Our conversation covered a variety of topics, but at one point Karen mentioned you could make snakes out of plastic easter eggs. I was more than a little bit intrigued. Needless to say, shortly thereafter, I was on a mission to find plastic easter eggs!

Fortunately, I am a pack rat AND it happened to be just a few weeks before Easter! I was lucky enough to find eggs with two holes already in them. I opted to use this craft activity primarily as a patterning opportunity. Most of my children are very familiar with patterns, and this activity was a great way for them to choose colors and provide evidence of thier knowledge in this area. Additionally, they were able to work on some of their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

I gave each child a small container to sort their colors into. They were allowed to choose up to 9 eggs in as many colors as they wanted. Putting the eggs into a separate container for each child provided them with their own space and they were not worried about other children taking the color that they needed in order to finish their pattern. Each child planned out their pattern as they choose thier eggs. We used 2 pipe cleaners/chenille stems to thread the eggs. (twisted together at one end).

The children were very diligent in keeping to their patterns and the level of concentration and determination was high!

The children were so proud of their finished patterns. They took their caterpillars everywhere. I didn't even have an opportunity to photograph all of them, as there was not a single one that spent the night! Some of the parents commented on how much the children played with them at home, and how many times the children talked about the pattern they made.

If you are going to try this out, the tail is made with a full egg while the body and head are made with halves. We used a little bit of glue to help keep the tail egg together and to glue on googly eyes. The remaining chenille stems are twisted to keep the eggs from falling off and formed to become the antennae. If you were going to make a snake, you could twist them into one piece and curl it slightly for the tongue.

These little critters are great fun- they wiggle and giggle :). For some of the younger children required quite a bit of help in putting them together. For these younger children, we dropped the pattern focus and just let them work on their hand-eye coordination. When they were "done," if they wanted their caterpillar's to be longer, we thread the eggs as they handed them to us. (Of course, we only stepped in to help when children asked for our assistance).

If you look closely at the photo of just the caterpillars above, you will notice that one of the caterpillar's has a mistake in the pattern. Can you guess who did that one??? Me! I didn't even notice that I made the mistake until one of the children pointed it out; It was a great moment of "everyone makes mistakes," and an opportunity for the children to remember that everyone, even their teachers are human ;).

Look at these proud faces!

Don't worry, I made sure to stock up on eggs from the 
clearance aisle as soon as Easter was over for the next time!


Mullin Avenue Workshop said...

Amy, These caterpillers are cute. It's nice that they provide finemotor skills, patterning, and can be played with too.
We have lots of these plastic easter eggs at our center (we are packrats too, and keep everything over the years), so I'll have to do this with my children soon. A nice springtime idea!

Anonymous said...

So adorable!
And what a fun story to have as your inspiration behind starting the blog. Love when I find those kinds of connections with people in the EE field.

Anonymous said...

How did you get the holes in the eggs? Great activity!

readerfam said...

How can I put holes in the eggs that I have?

Amy A @ Child Central Station said...

You could use a drill to add the holes, or an exact knife would work too!

My friend died

 I learned a hell of a lot from Dan Hodgins.  He was mentor, a friend, and a "bone shaker" for many of us in the field of Early Ch...